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NZ Eyeing DNA Technology

7 Jun 2013 - Positive tests on a DNA analyser that gives crime scene results in just an hour has prompted ESR scientists to consider its use in New Zealand.

DNA extraction and analysis would be carried out at the crime scene, rather than having to be done in a laboratory, using the prototype developed by NEC.

That could speed up police investigations by getting faster identification of those involved in crimes, Environmental Science and Research (ESR) forensic development manager Bjorn Sutherland said.

It would maintain the same level of quality and accuracy of the older tests, he said.

A trial as part of ESR's future crime-scene research project, tested 25 mouth swab samples and other sample types. ESR is the sole forensic science provider to the New Zealand Police and manager of the DNA Profile Databank.

The results were encouraging and Sutherland said ESR would consider the potential for future use of the device in New Zealand.

Five NEC technical staff came to New Zealand to trial the device at ESR's Mount Albert DNA analysis facility in Auckland.

"The first phase of testing is to ensure the rapid DNA device produces results that are the same as those we'd get in our lab," Sutherland said.

"Early results are promising, but much more research and testing is needed before we can use the device on crime scene samples such as bloodstains."

ESR would discuss with NEC future opportunities to test the device.

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